Wilkinson injury jinx strikes again to allow Blues to seize the trophy

Cardiff Blues 28 Toulon 21

Jonny Wilkinson hobbled out of a thrilling Amlin Challenge Cup final with a suspected broken rib as Cardiff Blues defied the odds in Marseilles yesterday. Jamie Roberts, Leigh Halfpenny and Bradley Davies all crossed in an impressive second-half comeback as the Blues overturned a 13-6 half-time deficit.

However, Wilkinson was optimistic afterwards that the injury was not as bad as at first feared. "I don't think I have broken a rib but you never know given my injury record," he said. "In my experience you just have to look on the bright side and get on with it. It feels to me like a strain, so I'm reasonably optimistic as far as England goes." Martin Johnson's England squad are due to tour Australia and New Zealand this summer.

Dai Young, the Blues coach, praised his team for keeping their heads to deliver a first European title for Wales and even secure an extra place for his country in next season's Heineken Cup, to be taken by neighbours Scarlets at the expense of Gloucester.

"It was a courageous performance after they had us on the rack for long periods. There were times in the first half when we were hanging on by our toe nails but the Cardiff team simply didn't want to lose," Young said.

"Wilkinson's injury was a turning point for them. He was certainly causing us problems but they lost their shape when he went off. We were able to pressurise them and he wasn't there to relieve the pressure."

Wilkinson gingerly left the fray early in the second half. Having received treatment following a heavy tackle by Cardiff lock Deiniol Jones, Wilkinson slumped to the ground as he kicked a penalty, that sailed wide, on 46 minutes. He must now wait for a scan tomorrow that will determine whether he tours with England.

Philippe Saint-André, the Toulon coach, said: "Jonny took a bang and felt he couldn't kick as he took the penalty. We don't know yet if it just bruising or a broken rib. He will have a medical test though he will have to wait until Tuesday because no one works here in France on Bank Holiday."

Wilkinson's departure heralded a dramatic change in fortunes for Cardiff as Toulon looked rudderless in the face of their opponent's resilient defence.

For reasons better understood by Saint-André, Toulon cast aside their usual structured approach and tried to beat Cardiff out wide, a ploy that looked to have played into Welsh hands until Sonny Bill Williams scored just before half-time.

But once Wilkinson departed, Cardiff grew in belief and were back on level terms within four minutes after Xavier Rush and Martyn Williams allowed British Lions centre Roberts to crash through for a trademark try.

Ben Blair and Tom May exchanged penalties before Cardiff seized the game with two tries in the space of four minutes. Roberts and Casey Laulala set up Halfpenny before Davies dived in from close range. Tana Umaga stepped off the bench to set up a late score but Cardiff had done enough by then to secure the trophy.

Scorers: Cardiff: Tries Roberts, Halfpenny, B Davies; Conversions Blair 2; Penalties: Blair 3; Toulon: Tries Williams, Sourice; Conversion Wilkinson; Penalties: Wilkinson 2, May.

Cardiff Blues: B Blair; L Halfpenny, C Laulala (D Hewitt, 78), J Roberts, C Czekaj; C Sweeney, R Rees; G Jenkins (capt, J Yapp, H-T), R Thomas (G Williams, 45), T Filise (S Andrews, 56), D Jones (P Tito, 50), B Davies, M Molitika (S Warburton, 60), X Rush, M Williams.

Toulon: C Marienval; G Lovobalavu, T May, S Williams, J Sinzelle (T Umaga, 67); J Wilkinson (M Kefu, 46), M Henjak (P Mignoni, 56); S Taumoepeau (L Emmanuelli, 56), P Fitzgerald (S Bruno, 34-40, 56), D Kubriashvili (T Ryan, H-T), E Lozada (J Suta, 51), R Skeate, J van Niekerk (capt), F Auelua (T Sourice, 65), J Fernandez Lobbe.

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home